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Posts tagged “Upstairs on the Square

Imagine Helen Keller with an iPhone!

Helen Keller.  Anne Sullivan.  Braille classes.   Before today, that’s pretty much all that I knew about the Perkins School for the Blind.

Over a delicious lunch at Upstairs on the Square (thanks to Susan Regis and Mary-Catherine Deibel!), I joined several people for a discussion with Steven Rothstein, the president of the school.  Based in Watertown, MA just three miles from Hotel Veritas, the Perkins School educates hundreds of students on their historic 38-acre campus overlooking the Charles River.  Although the organization is 183 years old, Steven said they are “just getting started.”  The incredible advances in technology have changed everything for people who are blind or deafblind.  Perkins offers a Braille & Talking Book Library, which provides free services to Massachusetts residents of any age who are unable to read traditional print materials due to a visual or physical disability.

Global Impact

By working with parents, government officials, and educators, Perkins is able to provide training and assistance in more than 60 countries.

Some of their successes:

  • 20,000 children who are deafblind or blind with additional disabilities receive educational services
  • 52,000 family members receive support
  • 13,400 teachers and administrators are professionally prepared
  • 100 parent groups and advocacy coalitions collaborate to improve educational services
  • Successful university teacher training programs are established in 17 locations
  • 200 international leaders trained in the Educational Leadership Program at Perkins now serve as regional resource persons
  • More than 190 leaders from Africa and the Caribbean trained through the Institutional Development Program—these leaders manage organizations serving nearly 17,000 people who are blind
  • Over 300,000 Perkins Braillers® benefit people who are blind in 170 countries
  • Professional literature and education publications have been produced in 21 languages
  • In 27 countries, government polices or practices changed in relation to the education of children with multiple disabilities
  • Over 200,000 children, family members, teachers, and professionals have directly benefited from program activities
  • The teachers and professionals trained in the program are projected to serve 1.8 million people over the next 20 years
Community Programs

Perkins offers many services for people of all ages who are visually impaired as well as for vision professionals, classroom teachers, care providers for individuals 55 and older, medical professionals and family members.

  • Special classes and programs offered on and off our campus
  • Services provided by our Braille & Talking Book Library and Low Vision Clinic
  • In-home outreach efforts for infants
  • Outreach to students and teachers in public and private schools
Needless to say, the lunch “opened my eyes” to the incredible work of the Perkins School for the Blind and I look forward to finding new ways to support them.  (Steven used the “opened my eyes” line, so I’m using it, too.)
Posted by Benson Willis, General Manager of Hotel Veritas
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Happy Leap Day! A good way to celebrate at UpStairs on the Square!

It’s Leap Year, and Sadie Hawkins Day returns after four years – time for ladies to muster their courage and invite their hearts’ desires for a special evening of dining and romance. Mary Catherine Deibel and Deborah Hughes, partners at Upstairs on the Square, have created a very special menu designed to ignite sparks on this day that dates to an earlier era when men where the ones who always asked women out.

Originating from an old Al Capp cartoon with Lil’ Abner and Daisy Mae, Sadie Hawkins Day came about to give women a day when they could be the aggressors in the hunt for romance.

Even in today’s more equal society in which women freely ask men to go out, it’s a fun occasion, so head to the restaurant’s Soirée Room where the pink decor and cozy banquettes create the setting for a romantic evening. And the “lady owners and chefs” here are offering a special menu from Feb. 29 to Mar. 2 to create “aphrodisiacal moments” for the guests.

Begin with Island Creek Oysters with sparkling Chenin Blanc mignonette or the roasted artichoke hearts with brown butter and blood orange citrus vinaigrette.

Entrée choices include a grilled sirloin with bone-in marrow and chermoula-crushed Maine fingerlings; hook and line caught cod with parsley root brandade and pea greens, or Grandioso Raviolo with truffled egg, tender greens and honeyed ricotta.

Share an ice cream sundae for two with candies and a giant chocolate chip cookie for a sweet ending.

Source:  m.examiner.com

The meal is priced at a special $74 per person including champagne but excluding other beverages, gratuity or tax. Mary Cat and Deborah agree to offer this special price but only if ladies will call themselves and mention the Sadie Hawkins Day special! “We guarantee a great meal,” they promise, but aren’t responsible for antyhing that might result afterward.


Harvard Square Businesses welcome Lady Gaga by supporting her Born This Way Foundation

Harvard Square Business Association members and one very generous local realtor, Holly Donaldson of Coldwell Banker, prepare to welcome Lady Gaga to Harvard Square by supporting her foundation.

On Wednesday, February 29th Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, are among those scheduled to join Lady Gaga at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education for the launch of the singer’s nonprofit Born This Way Foundation.  The Born This Way Foundation addresses issues such as self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development through research, education and advocacy. The Gaga nonprofit is in partnership with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Chutney’s – 36 JFK Street, 617-491-2545

Spice it up for Lady Gaga at Chutney’s!

Mention “Born This Way” on Wednesday February 29th and get 20% off your order! $1 for each sale towards will be donated to The Born This Way Foundation.

Crazy Dough’s – 36 JFK Street, 617-492-4848

Mention the “Lady Gaga Offer” on Wednesday the 29th and get 10% off your entire order at the Harvard Square location. 10% of the “Lady Gaga Offer” sales will also be donated to The Born This Way Foundation.

FiRE+iCE – 50 Church Street, 617-547-9007

FiRE+iCE Harvard Square will donate 20% of all dessert sales on Wednesday the 29th to the Lady Gaga Born This Way Foundation!

Follow The Honey – 1132 Mass Ave, 617-945-7356,

100% proceeds of our fabulous 1/4 pound ball jar of “Massachusetts Honey on Tap” to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. Bee as you were born to bee ~ raw honey courage!

Grendel’s Den Restaurant and Bar – 89 Winthrop Street, 617-491-1160

Grendel’s Den Restaurant & Bar will feature a specially devised cocktail called “The Little Monster”, created by bartender (and Gaga fan) Dustin Frankus. The cocktail features Lady Gaga’s favorite whiskey – Jameson – with Lillet & bitters for $7.50, with $2 from each sale donated to the Born This Way Foundation.

 Hotel Veritas – 1 Remington Street, 617-520-5000

Hotel Veritas is featuring a “Born This Way Foundation” rate which includes a $100 donation made to the foundation. The rate is $25 above the standard room rate, so the guest donates $25 and the hotel donates $75.  This can be booked via the Specials page of our website www.thehotelveritas.com or by calling the hotel at 617-520-5000 and asking for the “Born This Way Foundation” rate. (Offer valid through December 29th 2012!)

Looks – 11 Holyoke Street, 617-491-4251,

Shop at Looks on Wednesday February 29th and get 10% off all dresses. A percentage of each sale also goes to the “Born This Way Foundation”!

Qdoba – 1280 Massachusetts Avenue, 617-871-1136,

Born Cheesy! For every Queso burrito purchased on 2/29/12, Qdoba will donate $1 back to the Born This Way Foundation. Valid at the Harvard Square Qdoba only.

Sweet Cupcake – Zero Brattle Street, 617-247-2253,

Sweet Cupcake is offering a “Be Sweet” cupcake; it has a “Born This Way” special edible fondant topper. All proceeds from the “Be Sweet” cupcake at the Sweet / Harvard Square location on February 29th will be donated to Lady Gaga’s Foundation. If you miss the chance to purchase the cupcakes on the 29th they will also be sold by special order on the online store through March 29th!

TistiK – 54 Church Street, (617) 661-0900

10% of all sales on Wednesday February 29th will be donated to the Born This Way Foundation!

UpStairs on the Square – 91 Winthrop Street, 617-864-1933

For Lady Gaga’s pleasure (and that of her followers) — our special house-label UpStairs on the Square rosé.

All this week, we invite you to come to our over-the-top bar, pink and gold and all dressed up just like Lady Gaga, for a glass of this special rose for $6 per glass, with profits going to the Born This Way Foundation.

Wellbridge Health and Fitness Center – 5 Bennett Street, 617-441-0800,

A portion (25%) of all enrollment fees and/or services (personal training, private Pilate, private yoga or swim lessons) purchased on Wednesday, February 29 will be donated to the Lady Gaga Born This Way Foundation.

Zinneken’s – 1154 Massachusetts Avenue, 617-606-3295

On February 29th, Zinneken’s waffles will be donating $2 for each totally sinful Lady Gaga & Oprah waffle (banana, whipped cream, dark chocolate and caramel).

In addition to these fine offers from our local restaurants and shops, we have also received donation offers from other generous members including:

Holly Donaldson of Coldwell Banker – 1730 Mass Avenue, 617.864.4430

Holly is generously donating 5% of her next home sale to the Born This Way Foundation!

For more information on this event and others please visit www.harvardsquare.com


Harvard Book Store welcomes back Charlotte Silver for a discussion of her first book, Charlotte Au Chocolat: Memories of a Restaurant Girlhood.

Harvard Book Store is located two blocks from Hotel Veritas – and our guests frequently stop in readings and books signings.

On Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 7:00 PM, the bookstore welcomes back Charlotte Silver for a discussion of her first book, Charlotte Au Chocolat: Memories of a Restaurant Girlhood – about her life as a child at Upstairs at the Pudding (now one of our favorite restaurants, Upstairs on the Square.)

From www.harvard.com, the website for Harvard Book Store:

“Like Eloise growing up in the Plaza Hotel, Charlotte Silver grew up in her mother’s restaurant. Located in Harvard Square, Upstairs at the Pudding was a confection of pink linen tablecloths and twinkling chandeliers, a decadent backdrop for childhood. Over dinners of foie gras and Dover sole, always served with a Shirley Temple, Charlotte kept company with a rotating cast of eccentric staff members. After dinner, in her frilly party dress, she often caught a nap under the bar until closing time. Her one constant was her glamorous, indomitable mother, nicknamed “Patton in Pumps,” a wasp-waisted woman in cocktail dress and stilettos who shouldered the burden of raising a family and running a kitchen. Charlotte’s unconventional upbringing takes its toll, and as she grows up she wishes her increasingly busy mother were more of a presence in her life. But when the restaurant-forever teetering on the brink of financial collapse-looks as if it may finally be closing, Charlotte comes to realize the sacrifices her mother has made to keep the family and restaurant afloat and gains a new appreciation of the world her mother has built.

Infectious, charming, and at times wistful, Charlotte au Chocolat is a celebration of the magic of a beautiful presentation and the virtues of good manners, as well as a loving tribute to the author’s mother—a woman who always showed her best face to the world.”

Harvard Book Store is an independently run bookstore located in Harvard Square and has been family-owned since 1932.


The 84th Annual Academy Awards – Celebrate at UpStairs on the Square

Our friends at UpStairs on the Square are holding their annual Academy Awards Party!

Their invite:

This Sunday, February 26, all night long in the Monday Club Bar, we’ll be right there with our most catty comments once the red carpet procession begins.  But unlike those skinny stars, we can eat, in fact, we can eat AND drink a lot—as we predict who will win.  And our Monday Club a la carte and new food bar menus will have some special cinematic offerings. So join us—we’ll have a ballot and a contest for the best predictor.

Feel free to wear your Hollywood gown or black tie, or come Cambridge.  Just come!  We award a generous gift certificate for most glamorous costume, male and female. Click here for our very droll menu (thanks, Matt Reiser!).


Bar Hopping in Harvard Square

I tend to bar hop a bit, and Harvard Square is ideal for this little hobby. This past Friday was a beautiful (and not too chilly) night to wander around the Square. We started early at the Russell House Tavern, one of our favorite local spots. Chef Michael Scelfo not only knows how to butcher a pig, but he’s kind enough to share pictures while he’s doing it. I recommend following his tweets. RHT serves Jack D’Or from Pretty Things, so I’m always happy there.

Next, we swung by the newly opened First Printer, on Dunster Street. New, as in a week old. The bartender was very nice and clearly excited to have the bar full. Enjoyed a bowl of Guinness Beef Stew. Of course, I’ll never judge a restaurant on one visit, especially during opening week – so I’ll definitely go back.

Thought we’d go visit our great friends at Upstairs on the Square, but they were closing early for a private event for Hasty Pudding. We could only enjoy one quick cocktail. They recently renovated and added a new bar and pizza oven and we’ll head over again soon to try those out.

Rialto was our next sipping spot. We love the bar here because the service is always wonderful and the cocktails tasty. Jody Adams is one of the nicest chefs we know and always incredibly generous. The patrons are quite interesting and you’ll never know which Nobel winner you’ll be sitting beside.

Last stop was Charlies Kitchen because I had a hankering for a double cheeseburger.

Posted by Benson Willis, General Manager of Hotel Veritas